Tuesday, August 8, 2017

I wasn't the mom I wanted to be this summer....

I wasn't the mom that I wanted to be this summer.

Sometimes, I was better. Some days, I really nailed the mom thing. We had donuts and we swam and we laughed and connected. Some days, I was intentional and had a meaningful one on one moment with multiple kids. There were days when I fought the urge to Facebook blast my awesomeness.

Sometimes, I was even more than the mom I wanted to be, I was the mom I needed to be. Some days, I said no. Some days, I made them use their money. Sometimes, I followed through with consequences that sucked for all of us. Sometimes, I modeled Jesus and selflessness and love even when it wasn't what I wanted to do. There were even days when we didn't use electronics.

And sometimes, more times than not, I would like to think that I showed them how much we all need Jesus. Which is a really nice way of saying, I blew it a lot. We didn't read everyday. There was no Bible verse memorized as a family. We used more than our fair share of electricity. We yelled. We fought. We ignored. We went to bed without goodnights. We ate junk. We were out of groceries. We didn't play a board game that lasted for days. And don't get me started on the condition of our house.

The honest truth is, the older my kids get, the harder the first day of school is for me. Did we have enough fun this summer? Will they want to come home when they grow up because we have great memories and traditions worth coming back for? I have THREE more first days with Caroline. HOLY CRAP. There is so much I meant to model for her. And teach her. And I am pretty sure that all I have done is model that I don't have it all together.

So. This year, instead of giving into the panicked, crippling guilt that I feel creeping up, I am going to try to believe that I really have shown them that we need some Jesus up in here everyday to make any of this work and worth it.

If I am perfect, if I have it all together, if I can be the mom that I want to me ALL BY MYSELF . . . then what? Then I have missed the chance to teach them that I can do all things through Christ, that His power is made perfect in MY weakness, that it is God who works in me to will and work for His good pleasure.

I learned well before their first birthdays that none of my kids were perfect. So why am I trying to pretend that I can be?

I was NOT the mom that I wanted to be this summer. I won't be the mom that I want to be this fall-despite the goals we set and the good intentions that I have to do it ALL WELL. But, I do have the ability to point them to the only One who will ever be everything that they need and who will give them more than they can ask or imagine. And I guess, once I settle my pride, that's even better than being the mom that I wanted to be.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Flying Everything

Wow. I won't even tell you how long it took me to get back into the blog. I mean technically into the blog so that I could type this.

Needless to say, it's been a while. When last we met, I had a rising 7th grader, 5th grader, 2nd grader and kindergartner. Caroline and I were headed to Haiti. At some point, I may do a quick summary of the last 3 years, but for now, I have something to say about how fast these last 3 years have gone.

When I named the blog Flying Years, I knew that the saying the days are long but the years are fast was true. I could look at my kids and think that time was passing us quickly, even if the days felt like they were creeping by.

Several years later, I'm sitting here, typing this at 3:07 in the afternoon, and wondering where the day went! Now, even the days are flying by!! And if I'm being honest, and that's kind of what I try to do here, I'm panicking. I mean, somehow, the sloth's pace of a day with diapers and sippy cups and squeezing in Target before naps has become this (sometimes frantic) deluge of activities and real life issues with long term effects, and time?? HA! - there's never enough time now!!!

When we go on road trips, assuming we can trick our kids into putting their devices down--sometimes this is accomplished by pretending to charge said device, but "forgetting" to plug it in. Anyway, when we are driving for an extended period of time, we have been known to play the alphabet game. For those of you who have never played, you look for signs and license plates and find words A-Z - the first one to Z wins. It has been the source of much joy, many laughs and also almost several sibling massacres. When you play, you are so focused on finding that next letter, that the time and the scenery not needed for the game become blurs to your mind and eyes. The next thing you know, you've reached the gas station or restaurant or destination and somehow the hour it took went by unnoticed or you doubt where you are because you missed some landmark you always see while you were desperate to find the ever-elusive Q.

I feel like I have been involved in a much similar game. I have been focusing on the next milestone (or current milestone) and time has flown by. Some of the landmarks blurred by and, all of the sudden, I'm sitting a gas station wondering how I got here so quickly.

Early on in parenting, I think we speed from milestone to milestone, And they are important and necessary. Kindergartners in diapers with pacies and not on solid foods is not the goal we have for our able-bodied kids. So we move to solid foods, excited for the day when we can go to a restaurant and order something off the menu for them. And we potty train, dreaming of what we will do with all the money we will be saving by not buying diapers (**PUT IT TOWARDS THEIR ORTHODONTIC FUND!!**). These are milestones and small victories for us and we march towards them all with anticipation because they come with rewards.

I have hit a phase in parenting--and to be fair, I was warned--where each oncoming milestone is met with some tears and sentimental trepidation. They are still victories. I want to raise great humans who thrive outside of my nest. But, the quickly approaching leaving the nest part is kind of breaking my heart. Sure, the older they get, the more freedom I have personally. (Of course, that time is spent begging God to reveal Himself to them, guide them, protect them, etc, or work to make money to support them, but theoretically, I have more "free time".) It is absolutely true that I do not miss wiping stinky bottoms. But there is something about that time where a shower is the ultimate victory, nap time and bedtime are my heroes and the monsters they are facing are imaginary and under the bed that is precious and innocent.

I will not wax on and encourage those with littles to cherish every moment, because, let's be real, the moments that smell like rotting human flesh poo are non-cherishable. Instead, I will just say, it's all true. Everything you have heard. And so enjoy what you can and take heart that even the rotting human flesh poo stories will, with some time and febreeze, be humorous and precious memories.

Hind sight is 20/20 and it's also often prettier than it really was. I'm going to hope and pray that, likewise, my kids will leave my house with some rose-colored glasses--that when they look back, my mistakes will be covered with some grace and understanding and humor and that they will learn some from them. And, I am going to try and appreciate more. And I am going to remind myself that much like potty training and nursing every 3 hours, this too shall pass--both the good and the bad, so hang on or hang in.